If there is an example of a sector we all need to look up to as far as the prevention of the spread of Covid-19 is concerned, that should be the religious sector and their administration.
Since March when it was announced that corovirus was in the country and huge gatherings were banned, religious leaders have used their voice to encourage the faithful to adhere to the directives of the Ministry of Health and the President.
Each time they have held services on TV, radio or online, they have reminded their congregants to observe the rules so as to keep safe.
Even when many other sectors that have been banned from opening continued to break the rules, and open their doors secretly, such as some schools, gyms and saunas, as well as bars, the church and mosque doors remained closed.
Last Sunday, churches continued to exhibit this example. After President Museveni in his national address on September 20, announced that they could resume having services in worship places, there were jubilation among the faithful.
The churches did their best to manage the numbers. Those that opened were at pains to follow the standard operating procedures (SOPs).
A number of them such as Victory Christian Centre Church in Ndeeba, let in only 70 worshippers and asked the others to go back home or return for the next service, which would again accommodate only 70 people.
Social distancing was observed with about two to three people sitting on a pew, which on a normal prayer day, can sit up to eight people. Sanitisers were available and one could not enter until they had sanitised. In Rubaga Cathedral, worshipers could not enter the church unless they wore masks.
Churches such as Watoto Church and St Paul’s Cathedral Namirembe, did not open, saying they were not yet prepared enough to have congregations and observe SOPs.
All these acts are highly commendable. Therefore, the business sector, including retail shops and markets, should borrow a leaf from the religious sector. At a time when Covid-19 deaths and cases have increased exponentially, some people are still, sadly, not observing the SOPs. Neither are those who are in a position of power, enforcing them.
We have seen how politicians have shamelessly broken these rules. We have seen how markets and big shopping centres are not adhering to the SOPs. Therefore, places of worship, should act as an example to the rest of the public on how to manage huge gatherings.
Most important, the government should ensure directives on Covid-19 prevention apply across board. It saddens to see people in downtown Kampala, markets and arcades, ignoring SOPs while places of worship are restricted.